The 2015 season came close to ending before the final bell for Pro Late Model Texas driver Ryan Luza. The track point leader at Pensacola, Florida's Five Flags Speedway was clicking off practice laps last month when an accident on the track looked to leave him out of the racing action for the weekend.
"I was in tears," Luza told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. "I thought the championship was over and we would not be able to get the car fixed. I went back to the trailer and I was putting my street clothes on and Larry Blount walked in and asked if I wanted to drive his car."
Blount, a fellow driver, knew Luza was battling for the season championship and he offered up his own ride to keep Luza on track in the quest for the title.
In a matter of minutes the emotions changed, and Luza was in the Blount car getting the steering wheel adjusted and back on track. Things got even better the next night as Luza was able to make the most of the borrowed ride.
"The car was fast," Luza explained. "I was impressed with the speed and after our race run on Thursday night I told the team I think we are going to win both races on Friday."
Luza did win both races and padded his point lead, pushing his win streak to three races in a row. Now he's got one race to go for the Pro Late Model track championship in the Allen Turner Tune-Up 100.
"A championship would mean so much to us," said the 19-year-old driver. "It would mean everything to me and my dad who has been helping me do this since I was five years old. Coming up the ranks and progressing each time."
Heading into the final race, Luza will be back in the family First Choice House Leveling, Building Wealth Home Loans, Ummscheid Racing Services Late Model. The main objective will be to get the championship, but winning the race is not out of his mind.
"We want to win, but we will do what we have done all season and that's keeping the car clean," added Luza. "We know there are some big names coming to run the race so we are excited to race against guys like Sterling Marlin and others.”
Luza holds a 74-point advantage, which should be safe, but with a high car count and qualifying points, Luza still has to run well to clinch the title.
Racing starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 19 with Pro Late Models going 100 laps in addition to the Sportsman, Bombers and Street Stock Championship event.
Previous Allen Turner Tune-Up 100 Winners
2014 Mike Garvey
2013 Chase Elliott
2012 Mike Garvey
2011 Brandon Bendele
2010 Mike Garvey
2009 Bubba Pollard
2008 Ryan Crane
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com
-Photo Credit: Ryan Luza Team Facebook Photo